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Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP)

Upcoming events in February/March 2017

Courage and ethics in community engagement and planning (27 February 2017)

By Wendy Sarkissian PhD, LFPIA

I want to frame my talk about courage in community engagement with a story of a project I worked on in December 2015, where cowardice, fear, and risk management took the upper hand, despite the best intentions and dedicated counter-attacks of two experienced and sophisticated consultant-activists, me, and my long-time and brilliant co-conspirator, Steph Vajda.[1]

I call this failed project “The Earth Goddess and the WhisperOut”, a term coined by my late husband, Karl Langheinrich. Steph and I had co-authored a book a few years ago called SpeakOut, which introduced an innovative interactive community engagement process called the SpeakOut.[2] Karl was its greatest champion, having worked on scores of SpeakOuts with me and Steph (and others) all over Australia. Karl felt that this pathetic shadow of a real project was a “WhisperOut” because speaking out was pretty much banned because of misguided fear. Community members were gagged by risk-adverse fear mongers. Only whispers were permitted.

About this time, a consultant working on the same project (a woman about my age) took great pains to explain to me the difference between being a consultant and an activist. Like oil and water, they would never mix, she declared. Activism has no place in the life of a planning consultant was her stern advice. If you haven’t had this experience, I can warn you (from my position as an elder in the planning profession) that it never goes well when someone starts to tell you “how things work”. Have you had that experience? “Wendy, I am just going to explain to you–just for your own good, of course–how things work around here.” Sadly, these interactions are often gendered. In my case, I was being lectured by an elderly woman!

This talk presents a “real-life” account of how courage and professional ethics can be tested when we work in the “real world”.  Learning to navigate our way through situations and dilemmas tests us all.  My aim is to provide a few insights so you can think about where you might draw your courage from when you face situations like this.

Event details

Date:     27 Feb 2017
Time:     4-5pm
Location:     210.102:LT Norman Dufty,  Curtin University, Kent Street, Bentley
RSVP:    Please RSVP your attendance

Early responses are appreciated.

Event registration RSVP to: Christine.finlay@curtin.edu.au

Further information

If you have any special requirements to enable you to participate at this event please advise when you RSVP. We will contact you to provide assistance.

For information about disability services at Curtin, please visit disability.curtin.edu.au.

[1] Steph Vajda, Ferment Collaborate (www.fermentcollaborate.org)
[2] Sarkissian and Vajda et al., SpeakOut: the Step-by-Step Guide to SpeakOuts and Community Workshops. London: Earthscan, 2010. See: http://www.sarkissian.com.au/publications/earthscan-community-engagement-books-by-wendy-sarkissian-phd/speakout and https://www.amazon.com/SpeakOut-Step-Step-SpeakOuts-Community/dp/1138147729 for details of the SpeakOut book. 


 

MCCA and CUSP present

A screening and Q&A of “Another World”

A Documentary film by Thomas Torelli (1 March 2017)

The world and human beings are undergoing a period of powerful transformation. A great part of the change has to do with a shift in consciousness. There is a great and growing desire for change in the world. Are we prepared? Do we like the world we live in today? What are its contradictions? How can we improve it? Are we sure that we are the most evolved people who ever lived on this earth? Is there a relationship between what happens to us and what we think? If so, can we model reality and make it work in our favour? What kind of world do YOU want?

Another World aims to be an enlightening and eye-opening documentary that deals with big questions such as these. Are we sure civilization has moved, is moving, and will move in a desirable direction? In addressing this concept, the documentary delves into many aspects of modern living. It’s a journey that will take us from the past to the world of today, synthesizing old and new ideas and various threads of research and knowledge in an attempt to understand where we stand as individuals and as humankind, an examination of society’s evolution toward globalization and a reflection on the idea of progress as it has been defined to date.

Event details

Event:     MOVIE plus Q&A: Another World
Date:     1 March 2017
Time:     12-1:30pm
Location:     Norman Dufty, 210.102, Curtin University, Kent Street, Bentley
RSVP:    Christine.finlay@curtin.edu.au
Early responses are appreciated.
The first 50 students to register get a free lunch!

Further information

If you have any special requirements to enable you to participate at this event please advise when you RSVP. We will contact you to provide assistance.

For information about disability services at Curtin, please visit disability.curtin.edu.au. 


 

CUSP Seminar: Josh Byrne on Sustainable Gardening (15 March 2017)

Join ABC TV’s Josh Byrne for an insightful seminar on the role that gardens can play in enhancing our homes, our cities and our lives. Drawing on findings from his recently completed PhD, Josh will share behind the scenes stories from his own private garden and beyond.

“For me, gardening has always been more than a hobby. It provides me with the practical means to improve my quality of life and the tools to reduce my environmental foot print. We can all create beautiful, productive living environments, no matter where we live, or how small our gardens are. Gardening gives us the means to make a difference and we can start right now.”

About Josh Byrne
Dr Josh Byrne is an environmental scientist, author, television presenter, research academic and gardener. Well known for his role as the WA presenter on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia program, Josh is also author of two best-selling books on sustainable gardening and is a regular contributor to the Gardening Australia Magazine. Josh is a Research Fellow with Curtin University’s Sustainability Policy Institute and the CRC for Low Carbon Living where his research activities span high performance housing, water sensitive urban design and low carbon residential precincts.

Event details

Event:     Josh Byrne on Sustainable Gardening
Date:     15 March 2017
Time:     12-1pm
Location:     Norman Dufty Lecture Theatre Building 210.102, Curtin University, Kent Street, Bentley
RSVP:    Christine.finlay@curtin.edu.au

Early responses are appreciated.

Further information

If you have any special requirements to enable you to participate at this event please advise when you RSVP. We will contact you to provide assistance.

For information about disability services at Curtin, please visit disability.curtin.edu.au.